Perhaps you should also consider looking around you (local areas etc.) and see what other people sell on a small scale and then learn how to MARKET for them
. It's not just about "developing your own unique product". SBI is all about learning HOW TO MARKET ONLINE.
I sell lots by affiliate marketing. Do I make a lot? No . . . but their products help bring in visitors to my website. I have one large affiliate that I market for and focus most of my affiliate time on them. Apparently it was noticed. When they switched from Share-A-Sale to a different affiliate marketing setup - one of their district managers called me personally. Why? Because they noticed that I sell A LOT OF THEIR PRODUCT
and wanted to be sure I switched over and followed them to their new affiliate company. It's a good thing they called - because I was very busy and probably wouldn't have noticed until I started getting complaints of broken links. This one manager waited for my fax and watched to be sure I was accepted immediately into their affiliate program. That did feel good!
Now remember - their product is big $$$ stuff. So although they only pay a 5% commission (which I'm going to negotiate up) - I still make several hundred dollars a month on this one affiliate. One single time I made a $3000 commission on a very huge sale. Now that doesn't happen often (although I wish it would) - but I found out when they were calling me that I was considered one of their top affiliates. This is kind of funny - because I only have about four pages devoted to them and all my sales (thus the commission) come from those four pages.
Anyway . . . I digress. I took a field that I'm an expert in and then created a website that gets very good traffic. Now when Google (in my opinion) made a huge mistake of changing over from thumbnail pics to full sized pics (why come to my site to see what I have for sale or click on Google adsense?) and then the monster Pinterest roared forth, grabbing "free images" from everywhere on the net and encouraging hundreds of thousands of people to be their "free workers" (pin those stolen images).
I hated it. I was angry. I had either created those pics myself or paid for the privilege of using them and now somebody else was using MY CONTENT to feed THEIR website
- not mine. But you know what? Enough of us little ones complained that it made Pinterest rather nervous so they decided it was ok to use their big Pinterest audience as a "shop on line store". I have worked hard to build a huge following on Pinterest. Now I mean several YEARS. Yup! This May was my 9th anniversary with Sitesell and my 3rd year on Pinterest. Now the biggest part of my traffic rolls in from Pinterest and my images are getting pinned by the hundreds each day. I don't pin "cute puppies" or "Funny Sayings". I PIN MY PRODUCTS. I have worked hard, but I now have a following of over 13,000 followers who all have an average of hmmmmmm. . . maybe 200 - 300 followers of their own and THEY have followers and . . . well - you get the picture.
My pics are exposed to over 2,000,000 (2 MILLION) pinners a month . . and about 50,000 of those "engage" my photos. That means they repin them, like them or follow the link to my own website. Of course - the last is what I want. I pin everything to lure visitors to MY WEBSITE - not to stay on Pinterest.
But I'm pretty busy other places. I had to switch wholesalers because the first one couldn't keep up with the size of my flower orders. They just didn't keep enough stock in their coolers to be able to fill large orders (or fix a problem) on a short notice. So I turned my eye back to where I had started . . . one of the largest flower wholesalers in the U.S. - and they are located only 45 minutes away from me. When I started 9 years ago, I wasn't big enough for them to notice me or work to hard to accomodate me. Now I went over with the intent on giving them a sales pitch to why they should want to work with me. Before I was done - THEY were buying ME lunch and wooing me - telling me they know that the internet is the future and that they were very interested in helping me be as successful as I can be. WOW!! It felt good that they were now wining and dining ME! I keep shaking my head. They now drop ship for me, pack the product and give me the advantage of their huge marketing power to get me the best rates ever from FedEX! I've moved into Fresh Flowers as well as florist hard goods and that has moved me up to about a 100% profit on every product I sell.
I was delighted when I had "a problem" on Wednesday. Seems like one of my FedEx fresh flower boxes got hung up in Indianapolis. It was still THERE while it was supposed to be in New York on a truck to my bride. I had to get busy and hop on the phone and find a wholesaler in NY that was close enough to her and sell her the flowers she needed. At first he was willing to sell to me and let her pick it up (I was trying to arrange a delivery so not to inconvenience my bride) - but while he was on my land line office phone he heard me have to stop and talk with my wholesaler in St. Louis and telling her I found another source . . . he became so interested in what I was doing that he offered to DELIVER THE FLOWERS TO THE BRIDE HIMSELF
if I would let him pitch HIS company to be to become an East Coast distributor for me! LOL!! Talk about excited! Having another large company that is willing to pack and ship for me, break cases when needed and (his words) be "forward thinking to the future" is a dream for me! I love that some of these huge companies see big potential in my little online store! When I told him it was my hope to get a distributor in the MidWest (which I already have) - another large one on the East Coast (which he is offering to be) and finally one on the West Coast (still working on that one!) . . . and he said to me, "You do realize that is how Amazon grew to be so big?" I'm laughing at that one - I never quite picture myself as the "Amazon Florist Supply" . . . but I would sure like to get to the point of making several $100,000's in sales each year!
See? I didn't HAVE to develop my own product! I had to develop a site that earned the traffic that sold somebody elses's product! All I had to do was invest in a quality online store and start building my traffic. Did it happen overnight? NOPE!! Lots and lots and lots of hours. Now I don't mean lots of hours on the forums (ummm . . yeah I did do that!) but lots of hours BUILDING PAGES. BUILDING TUTORIALS. BUILDING UP MY EXPERTISE. Lots of knocking on whoelsale doors. Lots of gulping down my fears and flying across 4 states to meet with someone to convince them to take a chance on me and let me market THEIR product for them! Many many many businesses
do not have the skill or know how on how to get a website up and running that actually receives traffic - and then market their product on them.
YOU become their expert. YOU build the store. YOU convince some of these specialty businesses to let you SELL for them while they get busy packing and shipping the product for you. So what do you like to do? Antiques? They sell like crazy online . . . create a store, become an expert and then (eventually) approach one, then another . . then more antique stores that let YOU sell THEIR product online - when they sell - you make a commission and they've sold a product! Like gardening? See if anyone has a garden store that they would like for you to promote for them. Like doll trading? Get your name out there and build up an expert site and then begin marketing and selling those dolls that OTHER PEOPLE HAVE! This isn't new. It's a concept that really caught on and it's called E-bay. But E-bay has gotten so big and charge for each and every little bold title or so many pics that the smaller sellers have been squeezed out by the BIG time sellers on e-bay.
You can become the expert in the online market. You'd be surprised how many store owners still feel helpless about how to get a business running that gets traffic online. But isn't that what we've been trained to do with SBI? So look around. Do you like quilting, sewing, antiquing, browsing flea markets, or collecting guns? Are you part of a sewing club? Browse and think of unique products to sew and sell online. (Think of Carol Leather with her patterns) Put your thinking caps on . . . it doesn't have to just be about products YOU develop . . but developing a site that gets traffic which equals a buying market which you can then SELL FOR OTHERS.
I tried in the beginning to sell my own cake tops. I took Wilton products and painted them, added rifles, etc. and then sold themed cake toppers. Sold them like crazy. Paid $11.00 for the topper and sold them for $25. Over 100% markup. Know why I had to stop? Because I was too busy SELLING SOMEONE ELSE'S PRODUCT. It is much easier to sell $1000 worth of fresh flowers that net me $500 on one sale rather than paint 45 cake toppers to make $500. See how it works? Once my store got large enough - it's all I can do to keep up, track the daily orders, pass them on to the right wholesaler and then keep an eye on them and be the "customer service" for my brides if anything goes wrong. (And plenty does!!)
But I love it! I'm still up to my neck in the flower business but I don't have to lift the heavy water buckets anymore unless I want to do another tutorial! I've been so busy lately I haven't even been able to do that! I had to enlist the services of a retired florist to help me keep up with simply pinning daily on Pinterest.
Don't give up on your dreams. Expand them. Think out of the box. Sell yourself to others and let THEIR products be the unique thing you can sell to a hungry consumer online. I used to say I never wanted to give advice unless I had proved to myself that it worked for me. So you got slammed by Panda! Get up, dust yourself off and quit looking backwards. Those easy days of Google Adsense don't exist anymore. But there is still millions of consumers on the internet and growing more every day. Learn how to be a marketeer and then build it around a product you can sell - hopefully for someone else. Because you are going to be so busy tracking order and deliveries that you won't have TIME to make that product yourself!
Believe in SBI . . . it does work. You don't HAVE to have a website that looks like it cost a million bucks. You just treat your customer like THEY are worth a million bucks to you.
C'mon! Race you to the top! LOL
Wedding Flowers Inc.